The Soundtrack For The Baby Boomer Generation

Step back to a time when singers were as bright as the stars in the heavens
and the music they sang was really swingin'. Stacks of wax to fit every occasion!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sad, Sad News - Final Janice Harper Update

Artist: Janice Harper
Song: That's Why I Was Born (a-side) (b-side is Moonlit Sea)
Label: Prep F 123 (Capitol subsidiary)
Number: 45-21768
Songwriters: Merritt-Roddie
Time: 2:07
Released: 1957

I have sad news to relate about my search for Janice Harper. She's still alive, but has been in a New York nursing home for 3 years with Alzheimer's. I don't know what else to say except to post an e-mail I received this morning, (August 22nd, 2009) from one of her relatives. Here is that message in it's entirety:

Update: The same relative which e-mailed said that I wasn't supposed to tell anybody else. Obviously, this person doesn't know what I'm doing here by posting facts about my favorite artists, and that I'm doing it for the fans of these same artists. But, she asked me take down her actual words and the things she had told me. I informed her that most of what she told me was already known by me and my readers through various fans telling me some of the information and me finding the rest on the internet. So, I will remove her e-mail, but you already knew Janice was in a home. Now, pretend you don't know that she has a relative in Florida and a son in England. I was told by this relative that the information she sent me was privileged information for my eyes only. That relative doesn't have to tell me or her fans that Janice was a beautiful person. We already knew that. And we already knew about all her belongings being auctioned off on the street, so that wasn't news. So, as I told the relative, the only thing I would be removing that wasn't already known by me and my readers here, by taking down her e-mail was that Janice had a relative in Florida and a son in England. Since I have removed the personal e-mail, pretend I didn't tell you that and that you don't know that I did. This relative wouldn't even tell me their name!

The relative's e-mail has now been removed, but we fans can still care about one of our idols. And now, back to the regularly scheduled post.

I don't know what else I can add but to say that her music will live on as long as her fans continue playing it. This probably won't be my last post featuring Janice Harper's music, but I don't know that I will be be able to update her life story any further. Please download this powerful song of hers that displays her amazing range and talent. Janice Harper singing That's Why I Was Born is a great way to get acquainted with this lady who possessed the remarkable voice. This is for you, Janice.

30 comments:

Linda Goss-Kozic said...

What a lovely gesture on your part, Kenny, to let the world know what has happened to Janice. Somehow in the midst of this devastating disease, I'm sure the angels have let Janice know that she is not alone in her journey and many, many fans/friends are thinking of her and walking by her side in loving hearts and thoughts. Bless you!

Linda Kozic

Ravel said...

Great tune! And sad news, a bit hard to put together this nic pic of the lady and these news...
I am happy you are back too, with the quality of yr posts...
Ravel, Montreal, Qc

FatherFriarTuck said...

Hi Kenny: The strict request from that FL. relative is nothing new. Janice Harper comes from a very strange/disfunctional family. Her sister, who is 15 yrs. younger lives on Long Island, along with sev. nieces and nephews. Her mother, still living at 97 yrs. old is also in a n. home with ALZ. Her son who lives in England never visits his mother. Her sister is her only visitor and is only allowed to visit for 15 mins. (strict orders placed by the son). Janice was secretly tossed away to a far away snake pit, just like her possesions at the flea market.

SquawkingChicken said...

Hi Kenny: That secretive relative who wrote to you about her cousin Janice Harper is not from FL. This cousin is Vivian Pisscher (Pisser)from North Carolina. She used Florida to throw everybody off. She loved kissing Janice's butt when she was a success, but has turned her back on Janice, along with all the other relatives. Remember everybody: "What goes around, comes around."

rackeys said...

I found out that she is in a nursing home in Rockaway and am planning to go visit her, if the nursing home lets, maybe next week, I am from brooklyn and a huge fan.

rackeys said...

I went to visit Janice today it was a pitty to see her in the state she is in; what a talent with a huge voice; She actually tried to sing for me; she is still alive but not well. today is June the 7th 2011, she is in a Far Rockaway nursing home, visitors are welcome.

HaarFager said...

Thank you for sharing that information for all her fans. I'm sure she would be glad to know that she is still fondly remembered.

laurakitchens said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
laurakitchens said...

Hello All,

My name is Laura Kitchens. I am Janice's granddaughter. I used to spend every summer with my grandmother in Manhattan until my father told me I couldn't go visit anymore. I did not know that she was in a nursing home until my senior year of high school when I tried to send her a valentines day card with my photos and it came back two months later saying she no longer lived at that address. Since then I have often wondered about my grandma and how she was doing. My cousins in Long Island are the only people on the side of the family I have ever had contact with other than my grandma and they too wonder where she is. If you all have any information on where I can find my grandmother, or anything that happened during any of your visits with her, I would greatly appreciate it. My email address is laura.kitchens@gmail.com
I miss my grandmother very much and have wondered for the past 2 years if she was even alive or not. Thank you all for your posts. It is good to know that she is still alive, even if not doing the best. I know she would really appreciate all of the love and support you all have provided on here.

Anonymous said...

I am Jean Ferrelli,the relatives on Long Island that Laura speaks of. Laura and my Aunt Janice spent weeks with my family in the summer , they would take the train from Manhatten and visit with us. I plan of going to see my Aunt this week, I too wondered where she was and of her condition. I am happy that i stumbled onto your page , thank you

Anonymous said...

I remember Bon Voyage, and how beautiful and powerful her voice was; I was absolutely entranced at the age of seven by that song...I am now 63, and it's wonderful to hear it again.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, this is Thomas from Germany. Are there any news concerning our admired Miss Janice Harper? Is she still alive? If so, does anybody visit her on a regular basis and take care of her? If only I'd live in the US...Please tell her that she still has fans over here in Germany who admire her talent and personality and wonder why she didn't become the huge star she deserved...Best Wishes to all!

Thomas said...

...my email address is tholu67@web.de
Thomas

Alan UK said...

I worked in Radio in the 50's and introduced Janice to listeners in Hong Kong as a result of Capitol kindly sending me samples of their latest releases. I met her twice on visits to the US and along with Gale Storm found her to be a really lovely person with an untypical attitude which existed amongst some 'divas' at that time. Now in my late 70's I still have many memories of great people like Janice - many of whom are no longer with us, but safe in the knowledge that as long as radio live on, there will always by new young people who are able to hear and love the sounds we had in the 50's and 60's. Never far from my thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Alan, for sharing your memories! There are no news concerning Janice Harper and nobody knows if she's still with us.
Best Wishes, Thomas

Anonymous said...

She's still alive.

HaarFager said...

Anonymous, who said, "She's still alive." Perhaps you didn't bother to actually read the post. We already knew she was still alive, that was the whole point of the post. Better luck next time, but keep in touch. There seem to be updates still coming in.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I DID bother and I've been reading the whole blog several times during the past years, always looking for some updates. Most of the posts are from 2009 to 2012...The fact is, that since your last update: "HaarFager said...

No further updates that I'm aware of. Thanks for asking!
January 27, 2013 at 6:56 PM "

there was no further information if she is still alive NOW. My posts were from August 2014 and January 2015. Maybe you didn't bother to actually notice that we have the year 2015 now...
Better luck next time, but keep in touch...

Thomas said...

Sorry, HaarFager, I overlooked the post from another "Anonymus" who posted: "She's still alive". I thought your comment was referring to my previous posts from 2014 and early 2015, where I was wondering if she's still alive. Now this post from June 20 obviously is from some other "Anonymus" who seems to KNOW that she's still alive.
Sorry again,
Best, Thomas.
P.S.: Thanks, Anonymus, for telling us that she is still alive. I hope, someone is looking after her...

Wayne Brasler said...

When "Bon Voyage" appeared I was a teenager already knee deep in the popular music business. Everyone thought Janice had a great future on the basis of "Bon Voyage" with that powerful voice, rich style, deeply sincere lyric reading and gorgeous looks. But as so often happens her record company did not know quite what to do with her or how to market her. She got the same beautiful album production and packaging as everyone else on the label but I remember a problem with pegging an audience for her. She was a legit singer in a market embracing rock. I am so sorry to hear how her life turned out, but that same story is repeated over and over in show business (I won't name the other lady singers in the same situations). Few lady singers had significant control over the music they recorded or how they were recorded, and they paid the price. The exceptions I know of are Doris Day, Peggy Lee, Joni James and Connie Francis, who basically chose their music and had significant roles (uncredited) in producing their records. Even geniuses such as Sarah Vaughan had only so much influence; Sarah said there were many times at recording sessions she was seeing songs she had never heard of for the first time. And this was for albums! The jazz geniuses Anita O'Day, June Christy and Chris Connor seems to have enjoyed major authority in the music chosen for their albums as well as the luxury of always working with the best arrangers and recording engineers. For most girl singers, life was not that easy.

Anonymous said...

Hi all: As of Dec. 2015, Janice Harper is still in the same nursing home but she can no longer speak or recognize anyone. The son who remains in London never visits; only calls to see if she is still alive. Perhaps one day, someone will be brave enough to write her biography and reveal her entire tragic life story.

Anonymous said...

Dear Janice Harper fans: Our beloved Janice is at the point of no return. I will post a note when the inevitable occurs. I hope beautiful tributes will be forthcoming from all of her devoted fans.

RonBaker2003 said...

I just finished playing her album, "Embers of Love". Such a great voice! I wish her well.

Anonymous said...

SAD NEW TO REPORT. SINGER, JANICE HARPER PASSED AWAY YESTERDAY, MAY 21, 21- 2016 AT THE AGE OF 85. SHE HAD BEEN IN A NURSING HOME FOR MANY YEARS SUFFERING FROM ADVANCED ALZ. RIP DEAR JANICE.

Ron Roberts said...

So saddened to hear this news. Janice was, quite simply, one of the most underrated of female vocalists.
Ron Roberts, London

Anonymous said...

I met Janice Harper in 1959 when she first started out. I worked at a TV station in
Buffalo, NY. Janice came to one of our Night Clubs. I heard her recording on another
top 40 station. I thought her voice was so great, I called that station and asked who the singer was. I found out we had her recordings in our music library and asked
our music staff to play her records. Then I found out she was coming to our town to
appear at one of the smaller clubs. We had a husband/wife team that did interviews with celebraties that came to town and asked them if they would have Janice on. They
told me they would and wanted me to talk to the club owner and ask if Janice could come on. He thought that was great because all her manager had lined up was talks with some Disc Jockeys, no TV. I went backstage to ask Janice if she would be willing to do the TV show and she said she would love it. I watched her show that night and then asked her if she would come out to meet the people I was with. She was very gracious and sat down to talk with us. I saw her on Wednesday and brought her to the TV studio to do the show. After the show she said Capital was giving her
a cocktail party at another club in the city and invited me to go to it on Thursday night. I went back to our Night Club on Friday with other friends and again she came out to our table to visit with us. I had her album "Embers of Love" at the TV station and she autographed it for me. I still have it along with her other album
"With Feeling". I moved to Los Angeles several years ago. I called Capital Records that is not to far from me and asked if the still had Janice Harper records there.
The guy looked it up and said they didn't have anything and they never heard of
Janice Harper. That made me a little angry and I told him that was their loss.
Anyway, I'm very sorry to hear she died but hopefully she is at peace now and I still have memories of meeting her.

HaarFager said...

That's a great story about meeting her in 1959 and everything that happened. All except for the part about Capitol Records not knowing who she was. I agree with you, it's their loss. These younger people companies like Capitol have working for them don't acknowledge the past and forget who it was that put them where they are today. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Anonymous said...

Glad you liked my story HaarFager of meeting with Janice Harper. Besides having one of the greatest voices in the world, she was kind, friendly and so easy to talk with.Meeting her and seeing and talking with her for 4 times that week will make me remember her forever. Losing her is a great loss to all her fans. We had a popular morning man on the radio. When I asked him what he thought of her record after his show was over he said "She will never go anywhere"...after shocking me with that remark and not punching him I asked him what he meant. He corrected himself and said "She is far too good and unfortunately she was coming in just when rock&roll was the new thing." Turns out he was correct and she never did get popular except with her real fans and I still have her recordings and her autograph to remember her great talent.

Eugene Pierson said...

I am so sorry I am so late in wondering how Janice is doing. I was just reviewing my memories of years in New York City and decided to check Google. It was quite a shock as I read through all the comments and finally reaching the news of her death.
I was introduced to Janice through a mutual friend Marge Hansen who was a part time model in New York. We became good friends and dated on and off for a couple of years in the late 80's. We would do occasional dinners, movies and would often shop for groceries on the way back to her apartment. The first time was amazing as when you opened the door she had all her favorite photos on the wall. I never asked for copies but she did give me an autographed head shop that I treasure. A creative friend of mine agreed to develop and produce a promotional piece for her that listed all of her past activities including the Tonight Show and USO trips with Bob Hope. I think I have it stored somewhere in my memory boxes.
We also attended the Annual Pharmaceutical Dinner & Dance at the Waldorf Astoria where we had our picture taken together and we also joined a group of friends for a fun weekend in Atlantic City. It was also a real treat to attend some of her shows in the New York area. Janice was truly a sweet, lovely and talented singer.
Her son David was a teenager at the time and did give her some trouble at times. He respected me and Janice said I was a positive influence on him. I discussed with him some of the benefits I received from spending a couple of years in the Navy and then returned to school on the GI Bill. He did later join the service and sent me a letter from Germany telling me had met and married a local girl.
When I changed jobs and moved out of the city we kept in touch by phone for awhile until I remarried and we ended our communication.
I must say that I never experienced any of the negative comments made by some who obviously never got to know the real Janice Harper and my sympathy goes out to her family and all those who were touched by her life is song. Her memory will never be lost again.

ROE BARLOW said...

I am reading thru about Janice. I believe she was the sister of a nun who taught me in 5th grade, who I was wondering about. Her name was Sister Ann. I am saddened to hear that Janice isn't well.......but her music brings back wonderful memories. Thank you!!!

Roebarlo@gmail.com